(Photos) World Teachers’ Day

Teachers commemorate World Teachers’ Day

with a protest action calling for higher salaries for teachers

and rank-and-file government employees.

Batasan, Quezon CityI

October 6, 2008

Teachers with Speaker Nograles

“We reiterate our call for a P9,000 for public school teachers, to be given over a three-year period, as contained in Senate Bill 2408 and House Bill 4734.At the same time, we support the call for a minimum P3,000 increase for the lowest salary grades to be given in the first year of implementation.”

UP Prof.  Antonio Tinio, Chair, Alliance of Concerned Teachers

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo

2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website http://www.actphils.com
Member, Education International

October 6, 2008

Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

World Teachers’ Day to be marked by protest at Batasang Pambansa

Hundreds of public school teachers will troop to Congress this afternoon [Monday, October 6] to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest action calling for higher salaries for teachers as well as rank-and-file government employees.

World Teachers’ Day was first inaugurated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994 to commemorate the signing on October 5, 1966 of the Joint UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document that sought to establish minimum international standards to promote and protect the teaching profession. The “Recommendation” served as the basis for the enactment of Republic Act 4670, the “Magna Carta for Public School Teachers,” in 1966. World Teachers’ Day is currently celebrated in more than 100 countries. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Teachers matter!”

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers will lead a delegation of over 500 public school teachers to voice out their opposition to Joint Resolution No. 24, the so-called Salary Standardization Law 3 (SSL3), which proposes a package of salary increases for all government employees spread out over the next four years. Joint Resolution No. 24 was filed by House Speaker Prospero Nograles on September 16, 2008 and is currently pending before the House Appropriations Committee.

ACT claims that SSL3 will not provide the lower- and middle-level government personnel sufficient increases in compensation to keep pace with the rising cost of living. “The proposed SSL3 will provide a mere P6,000 increase over a four-year period—that’s too little of an increase over too long a period of time. Teacher compensation will barely keep up with the inflation rate, much less make real gains in purchasing power,” said ACT chairperson Antonio Tinio. “It’s much worse for the lowest-ranking government personnel. A utility worker or clerk will receive a mere P1,800 increase over 4 years according to the SSL3 scheme. Meanwhile, the highest-ranking government bureaucrats will get increases of up to 100%. That’s clearly unjust.”

“We reiterate our call for a P9,000 for public school teachers, to be given over a three-year period, as contained in Senate Bill 2408 and House Bill 4734,” he added. “At the same time, we support the call for a minimum P3,000 increase for the lowest salary grades to be given in the first year of implementation.” Senate Bill 2408 was approved by the upper chamber last July, while its counterpart House Bill 4734 remains pending in the lower house.

“At this point, we’re disappointed with the response of Congress to the series of mass mobilizations held by public school teachers in the past few weeks to demand higher salaries. In commemoration of World Teachers’ Day, we urge our representatives to show that ‘teachers really do matter.’ It’s not too late to revise SSL3 in accordance with the widespread clamor of teachers as well as other government employees.”

The teachers will hold a brief program in front of the main gate of the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City starting at 2:00 p.m., where they will be met by Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna, Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela Women’s Party, and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis. Rep. Ilagan, herself a retired teacher, is the principal author of House Bill 4734. They will then proceed to the Session Hall where they will hear Rep. Ocampo deliver a privilege speech to mark World Teachers’ Day.

“With the filing of Joint Resolution No. 24, the salary struggle now involves the whole government bureaucracy,” said Tinio. The ACT chairperson noted that today’s teachers’ protest is part of a series of actions against the SSL3 to be held by government employees at the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, October 7, COURAGE, the public sector union federation, will lead another protest action. This will be followed by a motorcade and rally to be led by the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on Wednesday, October 8. “We will keep up the pressure on Congress to enact a more just and equitable compensation package for public servants.” #

Unity and Struggle
World Teachers’ Day 2008

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers salutes teachers throughout the globe on World Teachers’ Day 2008. We stand hand in hand with our colleagues in our common struggle to uphold the rights and welfare of educators and the people’s right to education.

Teachers in the Philippines face ever greater challenges in providing a liberating education to the nation’s youth. Under the Arroyo administration, the budget for education continues to decline as the government prioritizes debt servicing and military spending. From 2001 to 2006, real spending for education contracted by an average of 3.5%. The trend continues in the proposed budget for 2009 with further cuts in the maintenance and operations funds of public schools as well as the school building fund.

Teachers have borne the main brunt of these cuts, with the Arroyo administration imposing a six-year salary freeze that has driven them close to the official poverty line. Their working conditions have worsened, with growing shortages of teachers and classrooms resulting in larger class sizes and longer working hours.

The Arroyo administration’s budgetary priorities have had disastrous consequences for Philippine education. Nearly two million more school-age children are out of school. The quality of education has further deteriorated, with Filipino students ranking near the bottom in international benchmark tests.

With teachers and students rising up to fight for the right to education, the Arroyo government has responded by stepping up the repression. In recent years, a number of activist teachers and students have been slain by government security forces in extrajudicial killings. Many more are subjected to harassment by the military and police. In Metro Manila, the Philippine Army is aggressively conducting “school tours” in which they target progressive teacher and student organizations for vilification.

In the months and years ahead, the impact of the ongoing financial crisis in the United States will make itself felt in our own economy, so closely tied to the US as its provider of markets, foreign investments, and loans. As in the debt crisis of the1980 and the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the government’s economic managers will no doubt resort to cuts in spending for education and other social services, passing on the burden of the crisis to the people.

Our hope lies in our unity and in our common struggle. This year, ACT has been waging a vigorous campaign for higher salaries that has received widespread participation and support from teachers nationwide. We are showing once again that our united action is an effective force for upholding our rights and the people’s right to education.

October 5, 2008
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website http://www.actphils.com

Member, Education International

Manifestation in Commemoration of World Teachers’ Day

delivered by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo
at the House of Representatives
on 6 October 2008

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege to salute everyday heroes the world over who play vital roles in shaping every country’s citizenry. The gifts of literacy, knowledge and moral rectitude are passed on from one generation to the next because of them.

Yesterday, October 5, marked World Teachers’ Day. It was an occasion to pay homage to our teachers who, despite the great difficulties and inadequate monetary compensation in their chosen profession, continue to impart values and knowledge to their youth.

World Teachers’ Day was inaugurated 40 years ago to commemorate the signing on Oct. 5, 1966 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – International Labor Organization Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. More than 100 countries now celebrate World Teachers’ Day.

This year’s theme—Teachers Matter!”—aptly gives due recognition to the teachers’ “enormous contribution to learning and social development, ” as the joint statement of the UNESCO, ILO, UNDP and UNICEF put it.

Teachers do matter. Their noble profession as educators is significant in shaping society and a country’s soul.

But as we honor them we must focus on the plight of teachers, especially in the Philippine setting. Last week, two of our distinguished colleagues –Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, herself an educator, and Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III — took the floor to press for a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries as a matter of right on their part and as matter of respect for the teaching profession on our part. I join their call because our teachers have long been denied what is due them.

Most of the half- million public school teachers in the country – 479,893 to be exact – belong to Salary Grade 10 with a monthly pay of P12, 063.00. They need to be raised to Salary Grade 20 in view of the rising cost of living. The ten-percent salary increase given to them last July 23 was simply not enough.

As of August 2008, the cost of living for a family of six in Metro Manila was at P 911.00 a day or PhP 20, 042.00 per month. The 10% hike for those in the Teacher 1 position (who receive PhP 12,026/month) still leaves a living salary gap of PhP 8,016.00. Additionally, Manila has become a more expensive city to live in than last year. According to the Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living 2008 survey, Manila ranked 110th among 143 cities surveyed in six continents. The ranking is up 27 notches from 137th last year. Done in March, the survey measured the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, a national organization of patriotic and progressive teachers, are here in the gallery for the second time to lobby for the immediate passage of a legislation that will grant them immediate economic relief, and if I may add, peace of mind. Various measures are pending before this Chamber to address the teachers’ very just demands. One is House Bill 4734 titled “An Act Providing for Additional Compensation for Public School Teachers” principally authored by Gabriela Women’s Pary Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan with this representation as co-author.

HB 4734 seeks a PhP 9,000.00 hike in teachers’ monthly salaries to be carried out in yearly PhP 3,000.00 addition over the next years.

Similarly, there is House Bill 4380 on Additional Support and Compensation for Teachers in Basic Education, authored by Representatives Guingona, Cynthia Villar and Laarni Cayetano.

Speaker Prospero Nograles has introduced House Joint Resolution 24, “Joint Resolution Urging the President of the Philippines to Modify the Compensation and Position Classification System of the Government and to Implement the same Initially Effective July 1, 2009, and Authorizing the Amendment of Existing Laws and Issuances Contrary to the Provisions of this Resolution, ” or the Salary Standardization Law Phase Three or SSL 3.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, we welcome all moves to address our teachers’ just and legitimate demand for a salary hike, but this should be rightfully hinged on recognizing the fundamental difference between the economic needs of those from SG 1 to 9 from those in SG 26 to 33. Those who currently receive less are the most ravaged by the rising prices of basic commodities and should therefore benefit more from any legislative action on salary increase.

Measures can and should be made to reconcile the differences towards giving our intended beneficiaries the hike they need at the soonest time possible.

Mr. Speaker, I urge this Chamber to prioritize the immediate passage of legislation that will provide immediate economic relief to our overworked yet underpaid teachers. We continue to lose professionals, our teachers included, to the lure of much better pay in foreign shores. ACT pegs the shortage of public school teachers in the country to almost 40,000. We cannot afford to lose more of these noble professionals.

They should be prized and given just remuneration for their distinct legacy of knowledge and inspiration to the young. As they have molded us in our younger years, we leave our children and our children’s children to them for their intellectual and moral nourishment inside the school.
We owe our teachers this much and more. Thank you. #

Arkibong Bayan

Photos Courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)

One Response to “(Photos) World Teachers’ Day”

  1. Armando M. Olmedo Says:

    Thanks for publishing this over the internet. I have been browsing many times but its only now that I really find this. Please let me know the progress on the increase of salary HB 4734 through my email dotine_2@yahoo.com . Can I be a member of ACT ?

    Hi Armando!

    Visit their website. You can find a link to it at the bottom of the article. From there, you can ask the hows of being one ACT member.

    Barangay RP

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